A Wedding Chapel as Lovely as the Landscape That Surrounds It

Arts Chugoku Travel - February 17th, 2017
Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

A pair of spiral staircases give this unique wedding chapel an immediate appeal – and a hidden strength.

Onomichi is a port town in Hiroshima Prefecture that is probably best known in Japan for richly flavored ramen and the gritty, yet photogenic charm of the street scenes to be found up its hillsides.

But thanks to an architecturally daring chapel, you might have one more reason to stop by on your way to or from the globally celebrated beauties of Miyajima.

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

Built in 2013 and designed by Hiroshi Nakamura from NAP Architects, the “Ribbon Chapel” is a part of the Bella Vista Spa and Marina resort in Onomichi. As Nakamura explains, the distinctive structure, which features two “ribbon” staircases that meet at the the top of the 15.4 meter (50.5 foot) structure, is a metaphor for the many wedding ceremonies that have been held there since it was built: “Just as two lives go through twists and turns before uniting as one, the two spirals seamlessly connect at their 15.4m summit to form a single ribbon.”

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

As the architect adds, the double staircase also helps to increase the stability of the chapel – something that is, perhaps, telling in its own right. The central area provides seating for up to 80 guests at the wedding ceremony, who can see the bride and groom as they proceed up the staircases, meet at the top of the chapel, and then descend as a couple. (We’re also hoping that at least a few weddings have featured the Stevie Wonder tune that came to our mind when we heard about this place…)

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

It nabbed the top spot on popular architecture blog ArchDaily’s “20 Most Popular Projects of 2015” (a pair of years after the project was finished, actually) and certainly caught our eye today.

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

The area near the Seto Inland Sea has no shortage of fascinating destinations – from the art-filled island of Naoshima to Tomonoura, a hidden jewel that inspired a Hayao Miyazaki film.

Looks like there’s one more.

Ribbon-Chapel-Japan

Images: Design Milk